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Social-Ecological Systems Meta-Analysis Database: Variables

Variable TypeCategorical
Variable Component TypeActor
Variable KindInteraction
ThemeTechnology (learn about themes)
ProjectsSESMAD
QuestionHow has technology affected the relationship between this actor group and the commons it uses in this interaction?
Select OptionsIncreased commons conservation, Increased commons use, Increased productivity, Other
Unit
RoleCommonsUser
ImportanceTechnology plays a very important role in facilitating different relationships between a commons using group and the commons. The majority of such relationships are in fact entirely mediated by the use of some technology. The use of different technologies can ameliorate or exacerbate commons problems by encouraging or discouraging overuse of a commons.
Definition

This variable describes the extent to which the use of current and/or new technologies by a commons using actor group has had various effects on how, and how much, it uses a commons. In natural resource cases, a frequent example is the implementation of a new extractive technology (electric pumps in irrigation systems, nets in fisheries systems) that enables users to extract more of a resource than had been previously possible.

The following values are not necessarily mutually exclusive (although the first two are):

Increased commons conservation: The implementation of new technology decreases the extent to which a commons  is used (resource extracted, pollutants emitted).

Increased commons use: The implementation of new technology increases the extent to which a commons  is used (resource extracted, pollutants emitted).

Increased productivity: The implementation of new technology increases the productivity, and thereby the efficiency (relative to at least one type of input but generally not all) of the use of a commons.

Decreased productivity: The implementation of new technology decreases the productivity, and thereby the efficiency (relative to at least one type of input but generally not all) of the use of a commons.

Sectors

Theory Usages

TheoryValue Used
Rebound effectIncreased productivity
Land degradation-deforestation hypothesisincreased commons conservation
Counter-Borlaug Hypothesis of the relationship between Technology and Tropical DeforestationIncreased commons use
Borlaug hypothesis and deforestationIncrease productivity
Rebound effectIncreased commons use
Borlaug hypothesis and deforestationDecreased commons use
Technical solutions and shifting the burdenIncreased commons use
Environmental kuznets curveIncreased productivity

Case Usages

CaseInteraction TypeComponentValue UsedExplanation
Macquarie Island Marine ParkGovernanceAustralian Toothfish Fishers[""]Given the location of markets and the resource, harvesting of Patagonian toothfish require onboard freezing technologies
Central California National Marine Sanctuaries GovernanceCalifornia Sanctuary Recreational Users["Increased commons conservation", "Increased commons use"]More efficient whale watching boats increases access to observers, GPS and mobile devices increases monitoring participation. Whale watching companies increase use through communication and GPS devices.
International Commission for the Protection of the Rhine (ICPR)GovernanceICPR nations (1976-1986) 
Galapagos Marine Reserve (GMR)GovernanceGalapagos Artisan Fishermen[]No real use or change of technology
Galapagos Marine Reserve (GMR)GovernanceGalapagos Tourism SectorNot Applicable
Wakatobi National Park GovernanceWakatobi Bajau fishers["Increased commons use"]Increase in use of nylon nets which have enabled fishermen to operate individually rather than within groups organised by a limited number of net owners, which has in turn served to increase total fishing effort (Clifton 2013). And increase in use of mechanised boats, reducing limitations by seasonal variations (Clifton 2013).
Wakatobi National Park GovernanceWakatobi Bajau fishers["Increased commons use"]Increase in use of nylon nets - which can catch turtles, even incidentally - have enabled fishermen to operate individually rather than within groups organised by a limited number of net owners, which has in turn served to increase total fishing effort (Clifton 2013). And increase in use of mechanised boats, reducing limitations by seasonal variations (Clifton 2013).
Wakatobi National Park GovernanceWakatobi Bajau fishers["Increased commons use"]Technologies like nets may exacerbate trophic level impacts on corals from fisheries. Destructive technologies like dynamite are also used by this group.
Central California National Marine Sanctuaries GovernanceCalifornia Academic Researchers["Increased commons conservation"]GPS devices have helped locate conservation areas.
Raja Ampat (National Act No. 32 2004)GovernanceRaja Ampat Artisanal FishersNot Applicable
Raja Ampat (National Act No. 32 2004)GovernanceRaja Ampat Artisanal FishersNot Applicable
Great Barrier Reef Marine ParkGovernanceGBR recreational fishers["Increased commons conservation"]Know where MPA boundaries;
Raja Ampat (National Act No. 32 2004)GovernanceRaja Ampat TourismNot Applicable
Raja Ampat (National Act No. 32 2004)GovernanceRaja Ampat Artisanal Fishers["Increased commons conservation"]Tagging and tracking have increased conservation efforts to monitor turtle movements.
Great Australian Bight Marine Park (GABMP) (Commonwealth Waters)GovernanceGABMP (Commonwealth Waters) Commercial Fishers["Increased commons conservation", "Increased commons use"]Increased commons conservation - Improved technology has allowed for improved environmental monitoring and research (e.g. on board monitoring technology (VMS)) which has increased knowledge of the SBT population abundance, growth and distribution, which improves enforcement capabilities. Technologies to reduce by-catch have also improved. Increased commons use - improved technology in refrigeration, boat capability/capacity, fish finders, and mariculture have allowed fishers to successfully target juvenile tuna stocks and grow juvenile tuna to a more profitable size.
Seaflower MPAGovernanceSeaflower artisanal fishersNot Applicable
Great Australian Bight Marine Park (GABMP) (Commonwealth Waters)GovernanceGABMP (Commonwealth Waters) Commercial Fishers["Increased commons conservation"]Technology has allowed for improved environmental monitoring (GPS, aerial surveys, satellite tagging, acoustic monitoring) of southern right whales, which has increased knowledge of southern right whale population abundance, growth, and distribution along with improving enforcement capabilities. Commercial fishers have more information on whale distribution and behaviour and specific regulations on preventing interactions and what to do in the event of an interaction.
Heard and McDonald Islands Marine ReserveGovernanceAustralian Toothfish Fishers["Increased commons use"]Without advanced technology (on board freezing, industrial vessels and gear, etc.), toothfish could not be harvested and brought as a valuable product to the market.
Macquarie Island Marine ParkGovernanceAustralian Toothfish Fishers[""]Technologies such as a brickle curtain reduce interactions with seabirds
Great Barrier Reef Marine ParkGovernanceGBR recreational fishers["Increased commons conservation"]Know where MPA boundaries are
Svalbard Nature ReservesGovernanceSvalbard Tourism["Increased commons use"]No substantial changes in technology during the time period. However, over the long term, developments in aviation and boat technology have made it cheaper/more affordable to travel to Svalbard and participate on tourism cruises). There is “increased commons use” because more people are travelling as tourists to Svalbard.
Central California National Marine Sanctuaries GovernanceCalifornia Academic Researchers["Increased commons conservation", "Increased commons use"]Through satellite tags, GPS, and more citizen whale sighting reporting, hot spots of whale locations have been identified and matched with shipping lanes, to minimize ship strike occurrences. Use in terms of research has been improved with technology capabilities (e.g. GPS, communication, tagging).
Great Australian Bight Marine Park (GABMP) (Commonwealth Waters)GovernanceGABMP (Commonwealth Waters) Commercial Fishers["Increased commons conservation", "Increased commons use"]Increased commons conservation - Improved technology has allowed for improved environmental monitoring and research (e.g. on board monitoring technology (VMS)) which has increased knowledge of the SBT population abundance, growth and distribution, which improves enforcement capabilities. Technologies to reduce by-catch have also improved. Increased commons use - improved technology in refrigeration, boat capability/capacity, fish finders, and mariculture have allowed fishers to successfully target juvenile tuna stocks and grow juvenile tuna to a more profitable size.
Seaflower MPAGovernanceSeaflower artisanal fishersMissingNO DATA
Great Barrier Reef Marine ParkGovernanceGBR commercial fishers["Increased commons conservation"]Turtle Excluder Devices (TEDs) and Bycatch Reduction Devices (BRDs) have considerably reduced turtle bycatch (and therefore also mortality) without substantially affecting trawling efficiency (Robbins 1999).
Cenderwasih National ParkGovernanceCenderwasih fishers[]no real use of technology by local fishers
Svalbard Nature ReservesGovernanceSvalbard Tourism[""]Although there are no outstanding changes in technology during the time period, developments in boat and plane technology have made it cheaper/easier to get to Svalbard to participate on the cruise.
Great Barrier Reef Marine ParkGovernanceGBR commercial fishers["Increased commons conservation", "Increased commons use"]E.g., Fish attractors / Fish finders, as well as VMS and technologies to reduce by-catch
Cenderwasih National ParkGovernanceCenderwasih fishers[]no real use of technology by local fishers
Svalbard Nature ReservesGovernanceSvalbard Shrimp Fishers["Increased commons conservation", "Increased commons use"]Increased commons use: The fleet has restructured to switch to fewer and larger vessles, and is now largely composed of large factory trawlers (can freeze shrimp on board, and stay at sea for longer periods of time). There has been a switch to double or triple trawls (less effort, more catch). Technology may help conservation of other species; newer nets have grills to exclude larger species in the attempt to reduce bycatch. Minimum cod-end mesh size is 35 mm. Other species and small shrimp are protected by mandatory sorting grids and by the temporary closing of areas with excessive by-catch of juvenile cod, haddock, Greenland halibut, redfish and shrimp <15 mm carapace length (measured in catch samples taken by independent observers).
Great Barrier Reef Marine ParkGovernanceGBR commercial fishersNot Applicable
Central California National Marine Sanctuaries GovernanceCalifornia Groundfish Fishermen["Increased commons conservation", "Increased commons use"]GPS has contributed to both increased usage and conservation. More efficient fishing gear and vessels have led to increased use. On board refrigeration has led to longer fishing trips and therefore increased commons use.
New Zealand squidGovernanceNew Zealand Arrow Squid Fishers[""]Increased efficiency and ability to stay out longer Increased conservation of sea lions and birds
California squidGovernanceCalifornia market squid fishermen[""]Increased commons use: More efficient vessels lead to more fishing
Falkland Islands squidGovernancePatagonian Squid Trawlers[""]Increased Commons Conservation While more efficient fishing could lead to more depletion, the ITQ limits this effect. However, technology helps to report catches, illegal vessels, and keep track of data e.g. size and quality of individual squid. Following the introduction Tori lines, also known as bird-scaring lines, in 2004, incidental mortality has been substantially reduced (Snell et al. 2012). In 2004, the Falkland Islands Government Fisheries Department introduced a mandatory licence condition that requires all stern trawlers operating in the waters of the Falkland Islands to use paired Tori lines to protect each warp. In the year following the introduction of Tori lines, their use led to a reduction in incidental seabird mortality of c. 90% (Reid and Edwards 2005 )... but still in 2007, 2007 seabird mortality associated with trawlers in the Falkland Islands using the current mitigation measures was estimated at a minimum of 590 birds (Snell et al. 2012).
Heard and McDonald Islands Marine ReserveGovernanceAustralian Toothfish Fishers["Increased commons conservation"]Seabird bycatch mitigations measures include a variety of technologies, including brickle curtains, streamer lines, and the use of weighted lines.